Monday, April 28, 2008

Trying to use the Flip




curse it.

The dimensions of the Flip are 4.1 x 2.3 x 1.3 inches; but it comes encased in the mother and father of all blister packs, around the same size as the telephone book of a small city. Say Little Falls, NJ. It takes the blister pack to new heights of Blisterdom. The material is about 6 times thicker than your usual blister pack. It might as well have been kryptonite. In fact, the popemobile should be made of this material.

I attacked it with a box cutter, with no success. Then a scissors. Then a knife, the kind you slice meat with. Nothing made a dent in it. Mr Charm added his efforts to mine, with sound effects. He couldn't open it either.

So here we were, two supposedly competent adults, bested by a $^&#&**# piece of plastic. What could we do, call 911?

Feeling like an idiot, I took it to my neighborhood hardware store, one of those places which, though small, has everything you need plus a competent staff. I asked them whether they had a tool to open blister packs. There is no such tool.

But these guys considered the blister pack a challenge which involved every member of the staff, so they finally got it open, working together as a team.

After removing the outer casing, we found that the Flip itself was encased in a smaller piece of the same material. It was removed, not without effort and a few muttered curses.
,
I looked at the Amazon.com website to see if anyone else had complaints about the blister pack. None. Nul. Niente.

So--fellow Amazon customers: did you have trouble getting the thing out of the blister pack? What implement did you use? Or is there some obvious way of doing this which eluded me?


After all that hoopla, how does it work?

It doesn't. I'm sending it back.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Clergy report

I was thinking about the Rev Wright's "snippets" which were taken "out of context," the poor dear. No doubt the rest of his sermons were bursting with the love of his fellow man, along with faith, hope, and charity.

This got me thinking about the parade of rabbis I have met down through the years. The ones I heard when I was a kid didn't make much impression on me; their sermons just seemed death-defyingly long. But I've encountered at least half-a-dozen since then. Some were good speakers, some were boring, but I don't remember any of them saying anything mean about Gentiles along the way or telling us how rotten our country was. Mostly they just explicated the Torah or discussed the holiday we were celebrating or the prayers we were reciting, or spoke about the importance of Israel. The worst things they said were mild criticisms of Palestinian suicide bombers. A common theme was being kind to others and giving money to charity, but usually the actual arm-twisting was turned over to a member of the laity who was better at it. I seem to remember that the air-conditioning system and the leaky roof were often mentioned.

Not a snippet in the bunch. Their sermons could be safely broadcast to the whole world without any result except for perhaps putting the listeners to sleep, thus making it dangerous to listen to them while driving or using heavy machinery. Perhaps they just had too much to say on other topics, like how to clean the kitchen for Passover. (It involves a wooden spoon, a candle and a feather, if you must know.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

No use worrying about global warming...

We've all been dead from the new ice age for years. Or we've starved to death, and most of the earth is covered with tundra.

So eat, drink, and be merry, you miserable remnants of a decimated world population.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Put a poem in your pocket day report

I informed everyone, did I not, of Put a Poem in Your Pocket Day, April 17? Then you whip it out and have a conversation about it with the people you meet.

I decided to try it. I chose this one:

Daffodils

I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the Milky Way,

They stretch'd in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).

and duly put it in my pocket(book). I was carrying a purse that day--no pocket.

I showed it to my dry cleaner; Ron, the auto repairman; and all the members of the Delaware Symphony Gala committee, but none of them had time to discuss it. The reference librarian at the local public library offered to find me critical literature about the poem, but said she was too busy to have a conversation about Wordsworth.

Some time later, the doorbell rang. I opened it to find two nicely dressed, smiling women, who were as polite and cordial as they could be. They just wanted a few minutes of my time to tell me about the Jehovah's Witnesses. I told them I would be happy to hear all about it, but first I wanted them to read and discuss my poem, which I just happened to have in my pocket(book).

They promised to return when they had more time, and backed carefully down the stoop. When they hit the sidewalk, they broke into a ladylike trot.

Nobody really has time for poetry any more.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A poet's muse has died

Miss Joan Hunter Dunn has died at 92.

Joan Jackson, who died on April 11 aged 92, was in her earlier life Joan Hunter Dunn, the inspiration for Sir John Betjeman's most popular poem, A Subaltern's Love-song, ...- and conjured up his reverie about them being affianced and playing tennis together:

What strenuous singles we played after tea,

We in the tournament - you against me!

Love-thirty, love-forty, oh! weakness of joy,

The speed of a swallow, the grace of a boy,

With carefullest carelessness, gaily you won,

I am weak from your loveliness, Joan Hunter Dunn.

Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn,

How mad I am, sad I am, glad that you've won,

The warm-handled racket is back in its press,

But my shock-headed victor, she loves me no less.

Could this possibly be George Bush's fault?

It must be.

Isn't he responsible for everything that goes wrong in the world?

Two poems

To his Coy Mistress

by Andrew Marvell


Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day;
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood;
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.

But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long preserv'd virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust.
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.

Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may;
And now, like am'rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapp'd power.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.



O mistress mine, where are you roaming?
O, stay and hear! your true-love's coming,
That can sing both high and low.
Trip no further, pretty sweeting;
Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man's son doth know.

What is love? 'Tis not hereafter;
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What's to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies no plenty;
Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty,
Youth's a stuff will not endure.

William Shakespeare

Poem of the day





Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

-- Robert Frost

Appalling news

Oh the horror!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My worst nightmare

...getting stuck in an elevator alone.

I know it's irrational to be afraid of elevators. I am queasy about being in a closed space, anyway, like a subway tunnel, but I gain courage through the presence of other people. Surely the Powers That Be would not allow a whole lot of people to be stuck in an elevator or subway car forever, but if it was just me, who would miss someone as insignificant as me? Nobody, probably. My children would probably wonder what had happened to me, but would eventually conclude that I had run away from home to live in the deep woods under the name of Sanders, as I am always threatening to do.

I would be alone with my soul, and that's not enough company. Even one other person, unless he were a paranoid schizophrenic with violent tendencies, would be a comfort. We could play geography, me and my sole companion, or talk about what kind of a meal we would eat when we got out. We could speculate about what was keeping our rescuers, and grumble about the kind of help you get nowadays. We could tell each other long boring stories about trips we had taken. If there were significant light in the elevator car/tunnel, we could show each other pictures of our grandchildren. It would be boring, but the time would pass.

I once spent a month in a hotel where the elevators didn't work half the time. It was owned by a fellow named MacArthur, the very same man who died and left his fortune to be spent on genius grants. This hotel had exceeded its shelf life, and should have been torn down years before. But MacArthur was a rich man and could indulge himself as he pleased. The air conditioners kept breaking down as well. In the summer. In south Florida. Maintenance crews were always trying to fix the air conditioners, with limited success. And so it was with the elevators. MacArthur also allowed millions of ducks to pollute the grounds of his hotel. But I digress.

It would not have been prudent for me to hole up in my room for a whole month, so I conceived a strategy for riding in the elevator. I packed my bag with books, magazines, and the newspapers, and when the elevator stalled I just hunkered down and caught up with my reading. Fortunately, the lights never went out during my stay.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Poets disagree about April

There's T S Eliot:

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

Whereas Chaucer believes it is a nice time for a trip:

Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote
The Droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe course y-ronne,
And smale fowles maken melodye,
That slepen al the night with open ye, -
So priketh hem nature in hir corage:
Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages -

and Robert Frost is ambivalent:

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You´re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you´re two months back in the middle of March.

Also posted on Carnival of the Insanities.

This poem is for today



I always think of this poem at this time of year:

Daffodils

I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the Milky Way,

They stretch'd in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).

A new Carnival of the Insanities

Worth a visit.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I'm a lush.

83%LUSH

April is Poetry Month--remember?

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant poises,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherds's swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

Christopher Marlowe
1599

The fun side of Passover

These are quite popular, it seems.


Finger puppets of the ten plagues.

I don't get it. Plagues are fun? I fail to see the light side of boils and cattle disease, and the thought of the death of first-born babies doesn't even evoke a slight smile.

These plagues were serious s--t, folks. You don't want to get God mad at you. Ask the Egyptians.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Longwood, April 2008

 
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Tulips

An age being mathematical, these flowers
Of linear stalks and spheroid blooms were prized
By men with wakened, speculative minds,
And when with mathematics they explored
The Macrocosm, and came at last to
The Vital Spirit of the World, and named it
Invisible Pure Fire, or, say, the Light,
The Tulips were the Light's receptacles.
The gold, the bronze, the red, the bright-swart Tulips!
No emblems they for us who no more dream
Of mathematics burgeoning to light
With Newton's prism and Spinoza's lens,
Or berkeley's ultimate, Invisible Pure Fire.
In colored state and carven brilliancy
We see them now, or, more illumined,
In sudden fieriness, as flowers fit
To go with vestments red on Pentecost.


Padraic Colum

Friday, April 11, 2008

If you've ever wanted a yodeling pickle


here it is.

I've always wanted one, haven't you?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Put a poem in your pocket day, April 17, 2008

Put a poem in your pocket in honor of National Poetry Month.

Here's a fragment of one I like:

L'Allegro

Come, and trip it, as you go,
On the light fantastic toe;
And in thy right hand lead with thee
The mountain-nymph, sweet Liberty;
And, if I give thee honour due,
Mirth, admit me of thy crew,
To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreproved pleasures free:
To hear the lark begin his flight,
And, singing, startle the dull night,
From his watch-tower in the skies,
Till the dappled dawn doth rise...

John Milton

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I found this amusing

From a blogger named Sally:

Monday, April 07, 2008

Plan opposed

and Bloomberg blames the State legislature.

Democratic members of the State Assembly held one final meeting to debate the merits of Mr. Bloomberg’s plan and found overwhelming and persistent opposition. The plan would have charged drivers $8 to enter a congestion zone in Manhattan south of 60th Street during peak hours. Mr. Bloomberg and his supporters, including civic, labor, and environmental organizations, viewed the proposal as a bold and essential step to help manage the city’s inexorable growth. The plan’s collapse was a severe blow to Mr. Bloomberg’s environmental agenda and political legacy. ...

The mayor has appeared increasingly frustrated with the situation in Albany in recent days and did not appear publicly after the measure’s defeat. He released an angry statement shortly after the rejection.

“It takes a special type of cowardice for elected officials to refuse to stand up and vote their conscience on an issue that has been debated, and amended significantly to resolve many outstanding issues, for more than a year,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “Every New Yorker has a right to know if the person they send to Albany was for or against better transit and cleaner air.”


What's all this legacy cr-p? Did George Washington sit around planning his legacy? Only two-bit nanny-state politicians (such as Bill Clinton) worry about such things. I suggest that if Bloomberg wants a "legacy," he leave his money to charity. Meanwhile, the score is: Taxpayers, 1,Bloomberg, 0.

Something nice



One of my chief regrets in the last few years has been that I have no-one to attend concerts with. This happened to me gradually, starting in New Jersey. First Mr Charm decided that he didn't want to go to concerts any more--for undisclosed reasons, since he loves music. My friend Betty doesn't mind an occasional concert, but her main interest is the theater. She also said she had heard enough Mahler for a lifetime.

So I started to go to concerts with Elaine, who was up for anything. We had a great time. Sadly, Elaine died, tragically and before her time. I miss her for lots of reasons.

Anyway, when I moved to Delaware I still had no-one to attend concerts with. My daughter goes with me sometimes, and I enjoy her company more than anyone on earth, but I still longed for a friend to go to concerts with from time to time. I seriously considered putting an ad in the local paper.

Instead, I volunteered for the Delaware Symphony, hoping some music would rub off on me.

Imagine my surprise when one of the women on the committee, who I had spoken to for a grand total of five minutes, called me tonight, to ask if I would attend a performance of Mahler's Eighth with her. She said the first person who popped into her head was me! Now it happens Mahler is my favorite composer, but his work is not performed very often.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to be asked. It made my day.

Was Rev Wright really a Marine?

Does anybody know? Is there any way to find out?

So many people lie about military service. Would he be one of them? Oh, no, he wouldn't lie, would he? A man of the cloth and a genuinely Holy Person?

So much of whatever else he says is clearly lies or rabble-rousing, why wouldn't this be?

I'm not accusing him of anything. Just asking.

Note: One of my readers confirmed that he really was a Marine.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

My still life

 


The art teacher claims it is not finished. But I feel I am finished with it.
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Hillary can't get it right

She reminisces about the death of Martin Luther King:

"...I will never forget where I was when I heard Dr. King had been killed. I was a junior in college and I remember hearing about it and just feeling such despair,” Clinton said, pausing, her voice quivering.

“I walked into my dorm room and took my book bag and hurled it across the room. It felt like everything had been shattered, like we would never be able to put the pieces together again."


The business with the book bag was over the top. It made her words seem contrived and false. She doesn't have what both her husband and Barack Obama have in abundance, the ability to express (or simulate) her feelings in a way that connects with her audience.

No doubt she was upset upon hearing about the murder of King. We all were. But she had to add that detail that went too far. What she should have said:

"..I will never forget where I was when I heard Dr. King had been killed." Pause. Silence.

Of course Bill and Barack can babble this kind of nonsense by the carload, and get the audience all misty-eyed. She can't.

I personally do not equate her with Katherine de Medici and do not believe she eats small children alive. But she has what Nixon had, an absolute tin ear. Whatever Nixon said, you didn't believe it--and I am one who voted for the guy.

Ht to Tim Blair.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Why muslims must say their prayers exactly on time

I never thought of it this way.



Hey the ACLU is correct on this one guys, {Muslim prisoners suing to have their meals not interfere with their prayers] sorry to tell you.
Allah is a very busy deity, between coordinating bombers entering paradise (he personally does the orientation speech), enforcing rules about stonings and beheadings and tea time with satan, he really only has a very small window each day to hear prayers, so it is vitally important for his followers to be on time for prayers, and the ACLU is well aware of this plight because satan brought it up at the last board meeting asking them to intervene.

From what I understand when his followers are late with prayers on wednesday it cuts into satan and allah’s canasta playing time, and allah is up 30 billion souls and satan just wants a chance to catch up.

Confessions of a sucker

I don't understand why everyone carries on all the time about the economy. I'm doing all I can to keep it going, spending money morning, noon and night. If everyone behaved like me, the economy would be doing great. Unemployment would be 0.000 percent.

Remember the days you had to go shopping in actual stores? I had no problem then. Stores keep regular business hours, and if they're not open you can't shop. This kept the monkey off my back a reasonable amount of time.


But then television direct ads began. I'm a sucker for them-- the kind that offer items for two (or three or six, whatever) easy payments of $19.95. You know the drill:

Act now! and we will send a second ***** absolutely free! plus this gizmo! All you pay is shipping! Our agents are standing by--call 555-555-1234 Now!

I admit to possessing a set of Debbie Meyer green bags, a dustbuster, the kind of flashlight you shake, and a rechargable sweeper. These are in the house, and I actually use them. Goodness knows what else has found its way to that Final Resting Place, the garage.

I also love special offers by mail. But they have to be really special. Macy's sends me coupons practically every week, offering me 20 percent, 15 percent, $10, or $25 off everything in the store! Every week, I faithfully report to my local Macy's, where I usually can be trusted to buy some damn thing I don't need, probably shoes. My collection of shoes is growing to such an extent that I have a special annex in the basement for the out of season shoes--boots in winter, sandals in summer--as well as a box in the spare bedroom for the shoes that are going to Good Will.

But wait--there's more! I have under the bed storage boxes for the overflow shoes. I don't even know exactly what's in those boxes, because I only clean under the beds twice a year. Whatever is in those boxes, I don't miss it, or even remember I have it, because I don't have time to open those boxes on the rare occasions I clean under the beds. And obviously, whatever is in them, I don't need it. If I needed it I would undoubtedly have gone out and bought another one by this time.

I was fine until e-mail offers were added to the mix. Now I am totally out-of-control, because I can buy something on the Internet 24/7. In the middle of the night I can respond to all the tempting offers I get every day by e-mail. (No, I'm not referring to penis extenders or Viagra. What filthy minds some people have!)

Just yesterday, HP offered to sell me a video cam for $59.95. I was strongly tempted. $59.95! I don't actually know what I would do with a video cam, how to operate one, or, actually, exactly what it is. But I want one! It's only $59.95 (plus shipping and handling). How could you go wrong?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Here's my fee

bedroom toys
Powered By Sexy Store


What's yours?

Too skinny

 
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I admit to envying thin women, but who would want to look like this? Or look at this? This model, from the Land's End catalog, looks like an escapee from a concentration camp. I have seen skeletons in anatomy class with more meat on their bones than she has.

I'm not buying anything from catalogs that feature women like this.

Yes, you can be too thin.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Hello time

Lately I have been wondering where the hell everyone is, and even whether I should continue this blog. So if you're out there, please say hello! You don't have to add anything pertinent. I just want to know you are out there.

What's wrong with Gitmo?

Why is everyone up in arms about Gitmo? Lots of American and Canadian lefties consider Cuba the island resort of choice. So why the heck does the mere mention of its name send shivers down American spines, including that of John McCain?

The very concept has become so abhorrent that there is no salvaging the place, so we are forced to find another venue for these prisoners. Some suggestions:

During the Civil War, prisoners were kept in the Dry Tortugas. I don't know anything about the place, except the thought of it makes me thirsty. However, the climate must be close to what these guys have at home, and undoubtedly there is plenty of sand. It also promotes itself as a tourist destination. There are lots of turtles and no fresh water.

If that doesn't suit, may I suggest Cleveland? Situated on scenic Lake Erie, which creates abundant snowfall, it would provide a change of pace. Bracing breezes waft down from Canada, especially in the winter. In the summer, you could fry an egg on the sidewalk. Cleveland is already the target of scorn and ridicule, but Americans actually live there: if it's good enough for them, it should be good enough for prisoners.

If Cleveland is ruled out for any reason, may I suggest Buffalo, situated in the home state of serial adulterers Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson. People used to like to shuffle off to it, but recently, not so much. Buffalo shares Cleveland's amenities, only more so--more snow, worse wind, more and better decaying industrial sites.

Detroit is another possibility. There are lots of mosques in Detroit, and plenty of vacant office space. They could get yummy home cooked food for Ramadan, delivered fresh to their door. Also the perpetual sound of gunfire would make the prisoners feel right at home.

My brother David

My brother David made some bizarre sartorial choices. Growing up, he was the little kid in the class who wore a striped t-shirt and plaid pants. His socks rarely matched. At one point, David decided to wear a crash helmet in the car--probably not a bad idea considering the way he drove--until we made fun of him mercilessly. We in the family cut him a lot of slack, as he is a genius software developer.

His most memorable wardrobe item was a fire engine red tracksuit. It was so shiny I believe it glowed in the dark, although I never tested the hypothesis. David, who is short and chubby, looked like an over-ripe Gouda cheese.

Finally, his employer told him never to wear this tracksuit to work again if he wanted to keep his job. So the tracksuit disappeared, until...




I saw Fidel Castro wearing it!

I always wondered what David did with that tracksuit!